Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas has threatened to stop security coordination with Israel if the country continues to withhold the PA’s tax revenue, a senior PA official said Sunday, according to The Associated Press (AP).
Nabil Shaath said Abbas warned European leaders on a trip to Europe last week that Palestinian officials would discuss the matter during a Palestinian central council meeting next week.
"We have told the international community that we will not be able to continue the security coordination and the Palestinian Authority itself may not be able to continue functioning if Israel continues stealing our money," Shaath said, according to AP.
The funds have been held back from the PA since last month in retaliation for its moves to join the International Criminal Court (ICC). Shaath said the withheld revenue amounts to $140 million per month for the last two months.
Palestinian Arab officials said the U.S., European Union and Arab countries have asked the PA to hold off on any decision about canceling security coordination with Israel until after Israeli elections on March 17, saying Israel may release the revenue after the elections.
But the PA officials said they were concerned Israel could continue to withhold the tax revenue as a punitive measure through April, when the PA becomes an official member of the ICC.
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.
Abbas has several times threatened to cut the PA’s security coordination with Israel, the last time being before he submitted a unilateral bid to the UN to achieve statehood.
Secretary of State John Kerry said Saturday the U.S. fears that without a cash injection, the Palestinian Authority could collapse — entailing serious security implications for both Palestinians and Israelis.
The PA has repeatedly asked for foreign donations, claiming it is on the verge of collapse due to a worsening financial crisis.
While blaming Israel for the PA’s financial woes, Abbas continues to spend six percent of the PA’s annual budget to pay $4.5 million a month to jailed terrorists and another $6.5 million to their families.